Building Customer Relationships- Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is vital for business growth. Your business is, after all, built entirely around your customers. This is why whenever you log on to websites or use an application, you are asked to provide a review or give some sort of feedback: the customer’s opinion is the most important piece of information a business can have.
Customer Feedback: Your Greatest Source of Learning
What is Customer Feedback and Why Does It Matter?
Think back to the last time that a cashier handed you a receipt with the link to a survey at the bottom of it. Or the last time that you bought something online and were sent an email asking you to leave a review for the product. Both the receipt with the survey and the request for a review are examples of companies asking you, their customer, for feedback.
Customer feedback is information given by customers about their experience with a company’s products or services. It provides insight into their satisfaction level and paints a picture of how they feel about the product or service that they received.
Collecting feedback empowers businesses to improve the customer experience through informed decisions. It allows you to know what you’re getting right and what you’re getting wrong in the eyes of the customer. Everyone loves to receive praise, but negative feedback is especially powerful, as it reveals where there is room for improvement. Microsoft founder Bill Gates took this idea to heart, as seen in the quote on the right. Collecting customer feedback is an essential practice for any companies that wants to put customer satisfaction at the forefront.
Collecting Customer Customer Feedback
Before you can begin collecting feedback, it is important to identify the reason that you’re looking for feedback. Having specific goals in mind that sets the groundwork for the entire process, it can help you determine how to reach your customers, what to ask them, and what to do with the answers that you receive. After all, data collection is great, but it becomes overwhelming and futile without any idea of what to look for in the data. Some examples of goals include the following:
Understanding trends in customer satisfaction
Identity customer service issues
Uncover product performance deficiencies
Improves a specific aspect of the customer experience
What to Ask and How to Ask It
There are a variety of different tools that can be used to gauge how customers feel about their experience with your business. The best way to measure this depends on what you want to learn from your customers and how you want to reach them (more on channels in the next section).
1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the likelihood that a person will recommend your product or service. It’s one question with a scale of 1 to 10.
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (customers who would not recommend you) from the percentage of promoters (customers who would recommend you.
2. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures how satisfied a customer is with a specific interaction with a company. Like NPS, it’s only one question.
3. Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how much effort was required by your customers to get their problem solved.
4. Social Media Monitoring
Social media monitoring allows you to learn what customers are saying about your business in an organic way. Tools like Google Alerts and Mention help you identify mentions of your brand on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other third-party review sites.
5. Feature Request Board
If your goal with customer feedback is to improve your product, a feature request board is a helpful tool to gauge product feedback from existing customers. It allows customers to submit their own requests and ideas on how to improve the product.
How to Reach Your Customers
Now that you’ve decided what you will ask your customers, you need to figure out how to reach them. Oftentimes, the ask and the channel are intertwined; some channels are more appropriate or more effective than others for eliciting responses.
Point of Service: Asking for customer feedback at the point of service allows for rapid feedback. However, the customer journey may not have ended yet at this point, so information may be incomplete.
Email: When customers’ email addresses are collected, follow-ups can be sent requesting customer feedback. These may include surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES) or open-response questions. Typically, incentives are offered for completion.
Business Website: For online websites, embedding opportunities for feedback into the business’ website gives customers the chance to respond at any point during the customer journey.
Social Media: Integrating opportunities for feedback into a business’ social media presence can be an easy way to generate responses. Many apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have in-app polling abilities.
Phone Call: When customers’ phone numbers are collected, customer feedback can be requested via a call. Calls are associated with low response rates, but conversations can open the door to qualitative feedback.
Bringing It All Together
So, what would generating customer feedback actually look like for your company? Below are three examples of how to execute the methods covered in this guide. They escalate in both implementation difficulty and the quantity and quality of potential insights.
Scenario 1: Informal Inquiry at the Point of Service
As customers finish their shopping and pay for their products, you can ask them questions about their experience. Documentation and data collection are difficult with this method, but organic conversations are a great way to start receiving feedback. Many businesses use their point to service interactions to encourage customers to leave feedback online through sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Foursquare.
Scenario 2: Follow-Up Email Survey
This method requires the collection of customer emails. After the customer has finished their interaction with your business, send a follow-up email asking for feedback via a survey. Here, you can apply what you’ve learned about NPS, CSAT, and CES. Survey creation tools include Google Forms and SurveyMonkey. This process can be simplified through email automation services such as HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Campaign Monitor.
Scenario 3: Social Media Monitoring
To effectively monitor social media, you will need to use a tool. Google Alerts keeps you informed of any time your brand is mentioned online, while tools like Hootsuite can help you manage and understand your business’s social media accounts. Data from both can be collected and analyzed for insights.
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